Kareem Elgazzar, Cincinnati Enquirer via Imagn Content Services, LLC
The modest upgrades mean competent pass protection, which will enable a high-flying attack that can set up the run.
With the recent positive news about Joe Burrow – he should be ready for the opener – experts and outsiders have once again directed their criticism toward the Bengals’ offensive line. More specifically, they are saying they’ve done next to nothing to prevent another injury to quarterback Joe Burrow.
Joe Burrow was running for his life en route to his rookie of the year award. pic.twitter.com/lbQ5oO4BOj
— ZIM (@zimwhodey) May 18, 2021
But while the signing of Riley Reiff and the drafting of Jackson Carman isn’t quite the upgrade fans desired, it’s probably enough for the offense to go where it needs to go.
In the video below, our John Sheeran tells us that the goal isn’t to have a top o-line:
“It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about having this stout offensive line that was in everybody’s dreams. It’s not necessary for Burrow to get what he needs to do. It’s never been that. It wasn’t that at LSU. It wasn’t that last year. It’s just getting the job done. It’s just putting the right pieces there to get a salvageable project.”
You can also listen on iTunes or using the player below:
Sheeran knows that won’t earn the front office a lot of praise until it produces results on the team. “And that’s why we’re seeing the same kinds of argument pop up,” he said. Still, apparently the team thinks they’ll prove people wrong: “They are confident that it’s going to work as well as it’s expected to and that should be enough with everything else they have on offensive.”
So okay, the pass protection could be enough to allow Burrow to light up opposing defenses. But what about the running game, which usually requires an above average line to really be effective.
Well, Sheeran says building that kind of line “has never been the plan with Joe Burrow at the helm.” Instead, the team will use Burrow to throw early and score points, which will, in turn set up the run. He said:
“Ideally, you don’t want Burrow to throw 600 or 700 times in a season. When you get the lead, then your running game becomes more easily achievable, because you’re not facing those heavy boxes in that sense because teams are still worried you’re going to score on them with the passing game. So if they get out to early leads because of their passing game they can then transition to a more balanced type of game plan with a more effective running game.”
In short, the offense should be fine if they can score early. Sure, they might not throw as much as they did last year, when they were constantly catching up, but as Sheeran, says, “you don’t expect the offensive line to pass protect perfectly for 50 pass attempts a game. But you need them to do better than they did last year, because last year was just too much.”
I think we can all agree on that last statement.